Guadalajara travel guide

Guadalajara Tourism | Guadalajara Guide

You're Going to Love Guadalajara

Guadalajara is the second largest metropolis in Mexico and is actually three cities merged into one. The result is a fascinating patchwork of neighborhoods, each with their own unique atmosphere and distinct charm.

Guadalajara will surprise you; modern shopping malls and nightclubs lie only a few blocks away from the historical downtown where you can see architecture and murals that date back to the colonial era. You can even escape the busy city life and relax in one of the parks or in the nearby Primavera forest.

Don't miss the International Mariachi Festival of Guadalajara if you are traveling during the first week of September. The city is considered the birthplace of this musical genre, and you will easily find restaurants with live music and bands playing in popular streets and squares throughout the city.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Guadalajara

1. The Colonial Architecture

The Centro area is the oldest part of town. You will probably spend most of your time there, exploring the narrow streets and admiring architectural landmarks such as the Guadalajara Cathedral and the Palacio Municipal de Guadalajara.

2. The Museums and Art Galleries

Your trip to Guadalajara is the perfect opportunity to discover Mexican art. The Museo de las Artes and Museo de Arte de Zapopan have amazing paintings, and the Museo Pantaleón Panduro has an impressive collection of folk art.

3. Mariachi Music

Guadalajara is the birthplace of this traditional musical genre. Plan on visiting the city during the first week of September for the largest Mariachi music festival in Mexico.

4. Experience Traditional Mexican Street Markets

Head to the Tonalá area on Thursdays or Sundays for a traditional street market. The Tianguis Cultura and the Mercado San Juan de Dios are also worth seeing. Street markets are the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, try street food, and people watch.

5. See a Typical Small Mexican Town

The small town of Tlaquepaque has merged with Guadalajara. Here you can shop for traditional art and pottery. Make sure you visit the Premio Nacional de la Cerámica if you are interested in pottery and the Parian, a large building with several restaurants and live music.

Where to Eat in Guadalajara

There are some traditional foods you need to try during your trip to Guadalajara, including tamales, fish tacos, pozole, and birria, a stew made with meat and chilies. El Sacromonte is one of the best places for affordable traditional Mexican fare and live music. Tacos Fish La Paz is an affordable eatery with delicious fried fish tacos. Try the lamb birria at Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas, and book a table at La Rinconada to enjoy the unique 19th-century setting, live mariachi band, and the traditional Mexican fare. A meal at an affordable restaurant should cost Mex$100, fast food should cost Mex$60 and you should expect to pay Mex$250 or more at an upscale restaurant.

When to visit Guadalajara

Guadalajara in March
Estimated hotel price
$30
1 night at 3-star hotel
Guadalajara in March
Estimated hotel price
$30
1 night at 3-star hotel

The climate of the state of Jalisco is humid and subtropical. Expect heavy rain if you travel during the summer. The best time to travel to Guadalajara is during the months of October and November. The Guadalajara International Book Fair is held in November and draws huge crowds.

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Temperatures
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Celcius (°C)
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How to Get to Guadalajara

Plane

The Guadalajara International Airport (GDL) is 10 miles south of the Centro area. You can follow the Guadalajara-Chapala Highway to get to the city or take a taxi for Mex$300. A lot of hotels offer free shuttles from the airport, but you can also take a bus for Mex$6.

Car

Driving to Guadalajara is easy since there are many well-maintained highways that lead into town. Follow Carretera Federal 150 if you come from Tequila or another town located west of Guadalajara. You can also follow Carretera Federal 150 from La Barca or another eastern location. Guadalajara-Lagos de Moreno 205 connects Guadalajara with Aguascalientes and León.

Bus

There are several bus routes that will take you to Guadalajara. Taking the bus from León should only cost Mex$270, a bus from Colima should cost Mex$400 and traveling from Mexico City by bus should cost Mex$800. There is a Greyhound bus route to Guadalajara and a bus ticket from Los Angeles should only cost Mex$4,000.

Airports near Guadalajara

Airlines serving Guadalajara

United Airlines
Good (69,524 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (47,699 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (28,429 reviews)
KLM
Good (3,808 reviews)
Delta
Good (30,763 reviews)
Air France
Good (4,367 reviews)
British Airways
Good (23,355 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (23,624 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Excellent (11,550 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (25,059 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (30,351 reviews)
Air Europa
Good (3,265 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (5,797 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (9,973 reviews)
Avianca
Good (13,615 reviews)
Frontier
Okay (40,476 reviews)
Copa Airlines
Good (12,989 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (4,705 reviews)
GOL
Good (3,280 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Excellent (4,647 reviews)
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Where to stay in Guadalajara

You will find that most hotels are located just west of the Centro area. The Hilton Guadalajara and Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara are excellent options in that area. If you want to stay in the Centro itself, consider staying at the One Guadalajara Centro Histórico.

Popular neighbourhoods in Guadalajara

Centro Histórico - this is the most interesting part of the city for colonial architecture. This is where you will find the Catedral de Guadalajara as well as street murals painted by José Clemente Orozco.

Sector Libertad - this is another traditional neighborhood similar to the Centro. You are going to love the lively Plaza de los Mariachis and the Mercado San Juan de Dios, where you can try street food and shop for souvenirs.

Zapopan - this is the city just west of Guadalajara. This is a more modern urban area with plenty of malls, bars, and nightclubs in the downtown area. Make sure you take a stroll through the seafood market.

Where to stay in popular areas of Guadalajara

Most booked hotels in Guadalajara

Hotel Dali Ejecutivo
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
$51+
Plaza Diana Hotel
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
$67+
Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
$126+
Hotel Portonovo Plaza Expo
Good (7.4, Good reviews)
$44+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Guadalajara

Public Transportation

There are a lot of bus routes that will take you anywhere in the metropolis for only Mex$6. There are two subway lines you can ride for Mex$6. One goes from the north to the south of the city, and the other line goes from the Centro to the eastern suburbs. There is also a Mibici bike system that allows you to rent a bike for short periods of time.

Taxi

Finding a taxi is not difficult. Taxis that use a meter have a starting price between Mex$5 and Mex$10. Expect to pay Mex$5 per mile during the day and Mex$10 per mile during the night.

Car

You can rent a car for only Mex$200 to Mex$400 per day. Insurance will cost you another Mex$200 per day. There is an Alamo, Sixt, and Fox Rent A Car at the airport. Keep in mind that parking is not easy in the narrow streets of the Centro area.

The Cost of Living in Guadalajara

Shopping Streets

Zapopan is the best place to shop for clothes, accessories, and jewelry. The Plaza Patria and Plaza Galerías are two of the main malls in Zapopan. In Guadalajara, you will find malls and smaller shops in the Sector Juárez, where you can shop for clothes and souvenirs. The Sector Libertad has an amazing street market, where you can find handmade crafts, traditional clothes, and souvenirs. Tlaquepaque offers a more traditional shopping experience with many shops that sell pottery and other types of crafts.

Groceries and Other

The street markets are the best place to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. You will find a Walmart as you head towards Zapopan and lots of stores that belong to the Waldo's chain in the Centro area. Soriana is another popular grocery store chain in the area and you will find locations throughout the entire city. A gallon of milk should cost Mex$57, a load of bread Mex$20 and you will have to pay around Mex$54 for a pound of ground beef.

Cheap meal
$6.38
A pair of jeans
$54.38
Single public transport ticket
$0.54
Cappuccino
$2.14
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